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Driscoll's CEO discusses challenges in CaliforniaKevin Murphy, the CEO of Driscoll’s was recently interviewed by the Huffington Post and asked about his career, what he has learned and his outlook on the future of the industry, along with the problems he predicts being the most troublesome for the industry in the near future.
What keeps you up at night?
“We’ve got a labor crisis in California. There are not enough people to pick the crops and, given what’s going on Washington and all the rest, it’s becoming a real problem. There are those obvious day-to-day issues with the business whether it be in China, here, or in Australia, whatever, they’ve all got issues. So, there’s that element. We’re a growth business, we continue to grow, we’re in almost 30 countries around the world, so that’s got my head spinning at times.”
Taking a brief pause for some reflection Murphy added that, “The one that keeps me up the most is that we’ve got a pretty strong culture. How do you keep that culture while we’re growing?”
After all that he added, “I sleep at night because I give it a good try during the day and when I go to bed I’m tired and I go to sleep. There’s no point wrestling with it too much.”
What have you learned about connecting with, motivating and engaging people?
“What I’ve learned is you need to meet people in their world. There’s an old saying, ‘Seek to understand before being understood.’ I think it’s one of the most valuable things you can do.”
“When you’re engaging someone who you really sense is listening to you and is really trying to understand, it becomes a very powerful motivator.”
Murphy went on to share, “I think if leaders did more listening and less talking we’d be a whole lot better off. Because when you understand where they’re coming from and what motivates them you can really unlock their potential.”
What have been some of the surprises of leadership?
“It’s an interesting question because the old adage is as you get older you realize there are more questions than answers, right? You come to this idea that when you’re younger there’s a lot of black and white and when you get older there’s a lot of gray. As you come to that realization you also realize leadership is not about being right all the time or having all the answers, but more around how do you create the learning and the purpose. I think great leaders are comfortable with not having all the answers and not being right. They create space for others to provide value.”
“The thing that I’ve grown to like over time, that is very satisfying, is to see a team or person perform above what they believe is possible. It’s a great feeling. It’s that servant leadership model where you get this intrinsic value from seeing people or a person really grow and prosper and do well and that’s such a great feeling. That’s been something that has continued to surprise me, how valuable that is, how much you get from that.”
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